Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dedication and Leadership

As per traditioon for me, I read a book on the flight. I also watched the movie "Fun with Dick and Jane." It was interesting how the two events overlapped. The movie was pretty funny. it was about corporate greed, and even had a special thank you to Enron, Adelphia and a few other companies who were living examples of the content of the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, I will do my best not to spoil it for you. I will this though. As their world begins unraveling, they find themselves taking some pretty desperate measures in order to achieve justice from wrongs perpetrated on them and others by their former CEO. I guess it is a remake, but I've never seen the original.

The book I read was called Dedication and Leadership by Douglas Hyde. Hyde was a member of the communist party for 20 years before leaving the Party to join the Catholic church. The book's aim is to talk about things that the party did well, and that the rest of the waking world could learn from. In his introductory pages he mentions that the Party had been successful at the time (1966) in bringing a third of the world under communism. He says that no other movement in history spread with such rapidity in such a short time--50 years. It was pretty impressive to think about.

Although he didn't agree with Communism, he did feel that other groups, particularly the church, could benefit from exemplifying the level of dedication among members that communists demonstrated. For so many, church is something that they do, and he feels that the Gospel, being the most important message for the entire world requires at least a similar level of dedication. How dedicated are you to letting the message of Christ shape all that you do?

The other strength of Communism, is his eyes, was its singular focus on leadership development. Every person was considered a leader in training. Every person was learning how to lead others and shape communities. "Every Communist a leader, every factory a fortress" was one of the slogans of the Party in the day. Do we have this kind of focus on leadership development in the church?

Hyde's books were originally lectures given to expose some of the weaknesses of the church that could be strengthened by the principles of dedication and leadership Hyde learned while in the party.

It is a short book--158 pages--and if read, may stir and shame you in the living of your faith before a watching world looking for passion, dedication, leadership, and more than anything hope. The Gospel is the hope of the world--will people know it by seeing your life and the life of your community?

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